As an artist-educator, my professional visual arts practice vitally informs my teaching practice. Recognizing the synergy between these roles, I aim to facilitate students’ acquisition of knowledge in an effective learning environment through my own example while motivating them to engage in a journey of self-discovery that will lead to the acquisition of their own unique artistic voices. I strongly believe that art is a learned language that should be used to express a distinctive vision. I believe that art should have personal integrity and be relevant both to ourselves and to our society. As such, my role as a teacher is to impart the technical and conceptual vocabulary of particular forms of art (in particular, drawing, mixed media, printmaking, time-based media) at introductory and intermediate levels, while demonstrating how these tools can then be employed to communicate ideas visually at an advanced level. Likewise, I view teaching/ learning as a collaborative project where exchange of knowledge between everyone in the studio/ classroom is privileged in the pursuit of mutual creativity. I aim to provide a challenging yet positive and supportive environment where the process of creating and effective problem solving leads to fresh imaginative artistic outcomes.
My methodology premises the inseparability of medium and message. I aim to convey knowledge of a particular medium (eg. intaglio) in such a way that the student becomes adept at a new language in which to express their ideas (aesthetic/ ideological). Knowledge about materials and technical expertise is provided through studio demonstrations (both traditional and contemporary digital media). Students then explore the materials/ techniques through 'hands-on' experiential learning with room for experimentation. Once they have acquired the relevant technical understanding through small-scale studio-based projects, I provide the discipline of structured guidelines for larger conceptually-based projects to assist in their independent learning and artistic development. Each project is also introduced and contextualized through a media-rich lecture which includes historical references as well as insight into the work of contemporary national / international artists working with the particular medium in a variety of ways. Despite the initial focus on medium, concept is promoted as an artist’s guiding purpose and project research becomes an essential component of making the artwork. Throughout, the value of a strong work ethic is stressed. Formative feedback is also provided as students work in the studio, allowing reciprocal learning to occur. At the end of each project, a group critique, in which the work is analysed for its strengths / weaknesses, inspires self-reflexivity and possibilities for further shared growth. Students are encouraged to find their own voice and articulate their own ideas and above all, to aim to produce art that makes a difference to the viewer. It is important that they avoid having the medium become an end in itself.
Overall, I believe that art cannot be separated from life. Artists must passionately embrace their ideas and must be intimately engaged with the historical, social, and political contexts for art and visual culture in order to communicate in a meaningful manner and function as professionals within the wider global art community. I aim to help my art students develop this awareness, both inside and outside of the studio/ classroom, through encouraging their participation in activities within the London community. I recognize the importance of remaining current in my profession through exhibiting nationally and internationally, publishing research in academic journals, and participating in art residencies and professional conferences.